For someone who always tries to project that he’s in complete control of what’s happening at Manchester United, it was quite weird to see David Moyes realize only after 45 minutes that Shinji Kagawa and Adnan Januzaj weren’t playing where they should be.
The main reason Manchester United won 2-0 against Swansea, breaking the streak of three consecutive losses? Finally putting the right pieces in the right place for the team’s offense, which meant Danny Welbeck continues his impressive scoring form (his sixth league goal in six matches) and the team looking a bit more like someone trying to win with football instead of simply winning an effort contest.
Shinji Kagawa can’t play on the left wing, not in Moyes’ system which means he hardly has the chance to cut inside, and needs to rely on speed and physical strength that he simply doesn’t have in order to beat full backs. Adnan Januzaj is younger and more versatile, with the ability to play on the right, behind the striker or on the left wing, but time and time again it’s been proven he’s at his best when on the left.
So Moyes needed almost 40 minutes to realize he was doing something wrong, and switched the two. The result? Some enjoyable football from the team, mostly thanks to the space Kagawa was enjoying. He isn’t Wayne Rooney, who is better at almost every aspect, but if part of Moyes’ goal is to see this team making nice combinations and everyone getting involved instead of just waiting for a superstar to help them, Kagawa is a must in the lineup.
Wayne Rooney might not like a deeper role than that, but his physical ability and drive make him a scoring threat even if he’s part of a midfield trio. Kagawa is going to be useful and a threat at goal only when he’s playing behind the striker. If David Moyes hasn’t given up on him yet, and the win over Swansea proved he has plenty more to give, especially in matches where he’s an actual threat on goal (the first goal came off a rebound from his miss), than this is how he should be playing.
Is this a beginning of a new road – an actual improvement? Moyes supporters keep suggesting he knows exactly what’s wrong with the team, and that he hasn’t let the wins earlier this season divert him or cloud his judgement. The problem is that even after wins he himself doesn’t seem to learn from some mistakes he’s making. Stopping the landslide is nice, but if this doesn’t bring any kind of consistency or undefeated streak, it’ll be more proof that this manager still hasn’t really gotten a grasp of where he is.